Author Topic: Why is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast?  (Read 1581 times)

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Why is Apple’s M1 Chip So Fast?
« on: December 01, 2020, 04:21:15 PM »
Real world experience with the new M1 Macs have started ticking in. They are fast. Real fast. But why? What is the magic?

On Youtube I watched a Mac user who had bought an iMac last year. It was maxed out with 40 GB of RAM costing him about $4000. He watched in disbelief how his hyper expensive iMac was being demolished by his new M1 Mac Mini, which he had paid a measly $700 for.

In real world test after test, the M1 Macs are not merely inching past top of the line Intel Macs, they are destroying them. In disbelief people have started asking how on earth this is possible?

If you are one of those people, you have come to the right place. Here I plan to break it down into digestible pieces exactly what it is that Apple has done with the M1. Specifically the questions I think a lot of people have are:

    What is the technical reasons this M1 chip is so fast?
    Has Apple made some really exotic technical choices to make this possible?
    How easy will it be for the competition such as Intel and AMD to pull the same technical tricks?

Sure you could try to Google this, but if you try to learn what Apple has done beyond the superficial explanations, you will quickly get buried in highly technical jargon such as M1 using very wide instruction decoders, enormous re-order buffer (ROB) etc. Unless you are a CPU hardware geek, a lot of this will simply be gobbledegook.


The M1 is not a CPU, it is a whole system of multiple chips put into one large silicon package. The CPU is just one of these chips.

Basically the M1 is one whole computer onto a chip. The M1 contains CPU, Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), memory, input and output controllers and many more things making up a whole computer. This is what we call a System on a Chip (SoC).


Apple M1 chip